Leading, that is, by virtue of the fact that the Rebels had taken the doubles point earlier for a 1-0 advantage. The Bulldogs had actually taken four of six first sets in singles. But that was no surprise.
This was Georgia. Back to back national champions. A tradition in men's tennis like no other.
But Ole Miss had them at home. The crowd, packed in like a Regional and loud with every winning point for the home team, was heavily into the match on this 70-something degree late winter day.
The score was then tied 2-2, and it takes four points to win in college tennis. It was coming down to either No. 4 or 2 or 1 singles.
Ole Miss' Jonas Berg at 1 was up early but had lost the first set. Kalle Norberg at 2 won his first set but was in a battle in set two. At 4, Bram ten Berge lost set one but was charging in set two.
The senior veteran ten Berge simply wore his opponent down, won the second set, then wiped him out in the third set by a 6-1 count.
While Berg continued to battle, Norberg won 6-4, 6-4, to seal the victory.
They played on and Berg eventually lost his match. But that was after the crowd had roared its approval for the Rebels' first win of the SEC season with a rousing Hotty Toddy.
In the sport of college tennis, this was like beating Florida in football. The Gators have won national football titles two of the last three years.
Nice year for the Rebs, huh. And in tennis, it's only getting started.
The SEC didn't appear to do Ole Miss any favors by scheduling Georgia first. Heck, the Rebels were actually OK with it, since the past two years they've had to play the Bulldogs in Athens.
How's that for not being so fair, at least not to Ole Miss?
So now with Georgia behind them, the Rebels can take a breath, right? Hardly.
Thanks again, SEC. Bring on Tennessee, probably the other team, along with Ole Miss and Georgia, with the best shot to win the SEC this season.
But Sunday night, if they've gotten past the Vols, too, can you say "driver's seat?" That's certainly what the Rebels will be in if they're 2-0 in the SEC with wins over those two teams.
There've been a lot of big wins for this tennis program through the years. Friday, with hundreds cheering them on and with the two-time defending national champion as the opponent, there have been few bigger.
"In the past six years," Chadwick said earlier in the week, "we've either won the SEC, or we've finished second – to Georgia."
Obviously the latter could still happen, given that the teams are only one match into the league season.
But that was a heck of a way for the Rebels to get things started against ole nemesis Georgia.
Quite The Start
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